Tuesday, May 17, 2016

An approach to studying creativity that I’d never heard of… Had you?

Alexandria Serapeum
Computer painting
©2013 Charlene Brown

Before I talk about research on Enhancing Creativity, I’d like to mention a creativity research methodology, Historiometry, that I hadn’t heard of prior to taking the Scientific American/NYU course last week. As I’m talking about historical data here, I’m using an illustration from the ‘History of breakthroughs in the arts andsciences’ from The Fine Art of Physics, to illustrate the post.

Historiometry is a quantitative method of statistical analysis using retrospective data and historical information. It has been used by D.K. Simonton to examine different hypotheses about the creative process.
Psychometric data about creative individuals (skils and knowledge, abilities, attitudes, personality traits, educational achievement, as well as creative precociousness and productivity) is derived from biographical references. This is quantified and analyzed in terms of available information about the individuals’ environments – role model availability, geographical marginality, economic or military/political circumstances during their particular period in history – to determine the impact of these creative individuals on technology, science and the arts.

I am interested in finding out how some of the more esoteric qualitative variables are quantified, having had to find ways to quantify the ‘value’ of qualitative variables encountered in fundamental (as opposed to productivity- related) research at Agriculture Canada when I was a program evaluator there many years ago.